John Whitehurst was one of a select number of men of science living and working in the eighteenth century whose minds were as remarkable for their breadth as their talents were for their diversity. Although remembered today mainly as a notable clockmaker from Derby - the town in which he lived and worked for over forty years - Whitehurst was also an instrument maker, mechanical engineer, hydraulicist, home improver, meteorologist, the father of modern geology and he had a hand in the development of the steam engine. John Whitehurst FRS: Innovator, Scientist, Geologist and Clockmaker presents a brief life of this talented and engaging man, drawing together his varied attainments and describes his wide circle of acquaintances, many of whom were fellow members of the influential Lunar Society. Much that he achieved has left an intangible legacy, except, of course, his clocks and instruments. This side of Whitehurst has been described in great detail, as well as the clock-making of his family and his successors.Details are given of the many types of clocks that came from the Whitehurst workshops, from complex movements made for Matthew Boulton to simple hook-and-spike wall and watchmen clocks.
The book's appendices include details on all known Whitehurst turret clocks and angle barometers, the firm's apprentices and its known numbered clocks. Since his death just over two centuries ago, his achievements have been largely neglected, and this book rehabilitates the reputation of a man whose ideas were of great importance in the development of scientific thought in the eighteenth century.
Maxwell Craven was born in London in 1945, educated in the West Country and first came to Derby in 1966. Following five years in London from 1968, he returned to Derby and in 1982 after seven years at Derby Museum was appointed Keeper of Antiquities, a post he still holds. For over twenty years, he has lectured on Derby and Derbyshire topics and has produced more than fifteen books including The Illustrated History of Derby (1988), A Derbyshire Armoury (1991) and, with his friend and former colleague Michael Stanley, The Derbyshire Country House (1981, 1984, 1991). Craven and his wife Carole live in central Derby in a dwelling which they share with their daughter Cornelia and rather a lot of books.